Miscellaneous Interlude – Biking, Running, and Eating

No photos to see here, I just wanted to take a moment to talk about a few other things I’ve been up to recently.

First off, bikes.  I have a small sample size that says biking is kind of addicting.  Originally I bought a bike off my friend Dwight to commute to work, and replace a old mountain bike of mine that got stolen.  One day I got fed up with being crammed on the Orange line, and started biking the 4 miles instead.  This was the first step down a road to a new, expensive hobby.  Soon I was biking everywhere, mainly utilitarian.  These days I bike generally at least 6 miles day.

It wasn’t until a warm late summer day though, that I really got hooked.  Everyone was too busy to go climbing, and I really needed to stretch my legs–so I grabbed my bike (a Trek hybrid, by the way) and rode around the Charles, to Newton, the Science Museum, and back.  My bike isn’t really built for speed, having nice fat hybrid tires, and straight handlebars, but it’s solid as a rock, which is great.  Up until that day, I felt like I would only really use my bike to get me where I needed to go.  But I got sucked in.  Now a bike ride sounds like a it could be a real adventure.

And Sweeney, who at first was apprehensive about getting into yet another hobby after just starting to rock climb, confided to me that he got hooked on biking after 1 ride last Thursday.  I guess there’s no escaping it.

A Scenic tour of Mission Hill

Also worth a minor note, was running the Mission hill 5k road race 2 weeks ago.  It seemed like the thing to do, and though I don’t consider myself a runner, it was fun to compete and do the run with some friends.  Since I’ve only run maybe 2 other times in the past two months, I set myself some nice attainable goals– 1) Don’t stop jogging, and 2) Beat 30 minutes.  Given that it was pretty hilly, since it is Mission Hill after all, I was satisfied with achieving both of those.

Next time I’ll make sure I get a little more speed in my gait so I can be faster.  I’ve never run a 5k before, so I was kind of in the Tough Mudder mindset–keep a nice steady pace so that you can tough it out for the long run.  Training a bit might help too, but I don’t like running in the city too much, so I usually just do hill sprints if at all.

New adventures in food consumption

Also, just over a month ago now, I realized I was spending a tad too much on eating out–mainly just buying burritos every chance I got and bringing them home.  I decided a drastic change in my eating habits might be a good way to get more convicted to buying groceries. With this notion in mind, I decided to start eating a “slow-carb” diet, a version of which Tim Ferris describes in his book The Four Hour Body

First of all, let me inform you that I have no intention of losing weight.  In fact, at my current morning weight of ~168, I plan to gain another 5-10 pounds.  I wanted to try the slow carb diet mainly for its simplicity.  Basically I eat as much scrambled eggs, meat, fish, veggies, and beans as I want.  I also have been drinking a fair amount of 2% milk, since it’s a good way to get extra calories to gain weight.  This keeps my shopping list fairly short–if I can’t walk out of the grocery store carrying everything for a week in one hand in a basket (one very full basket), I probably have done something wrong.

One day a week (Saturday), I get to eat anything I want (carbs).  Basically I see who wants to hit burger joints, and I attempt to eat ridiculous amounts of pastries for breakfast, and devour entire pizzas.  This is great, since I’d say overall I eat healthier, and I can only eat so much junk food in one day.  A stipulation I should make here is that when I’m active for most of the day, hiking, for example, I generally eat more carb heavy since I feel like I need to replenish what my body is using.

Results and thoughts?  I’ve had a few realizations in the past month.  I’ve definitely leaned down a bit, which is great.  Eating to the diet isn’t very difficult mid-week, though I tend to have a few Bolocco bowls throughout the week.  Salsa and hot sauce make everything tasty, something I didn’t think to take seriously until 2 weeks in.

Another thing is I am fairly active, so if I eat a few meals that are a bit too small, I end up hungry and losing some weight, which is no good.  In a given week, I workout for 3 hours doing barbell routines, ride 6 miles daily, and often spend at least 1 or 2 of the remaining days of the week doing something active like climbing or hiking, if I don’t have other plans.  After a few weeks I noticed I was losing a bit of weight, so I just started drinking more milk, and sometimes having a protein shake after the gym.  Ferris’ diet plan makes various allowances for this sort of thing.

Three weeks in, the day after my “cheat day” I had some leftover pop-tarts, and had a really strong urge to stop eating slow carb.  I was out of food and knew it would be easier just to buy something rather than come back to cook up lunch.  Don’t leave leftover sugary food.  The thing is, I realized I was wussing out.  It really isn’t hard for me to eat slow carb, I usually cook the same type of meals most weeks, slow carb or otherwise.  The simplicity and diet of slow carb is just a motivation to cook.  The snacks will be there next Saturday, and I’ll be sick of them by the end of that day, again.

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